fields of study

#3: 3 blossoming fields of study with massive potential

For institutions eager to help their students not only leap into the job market, but enter a future-proof career, these fields of study are wise investments.

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on May 9th of this year, was our #3 most popular story of the year. The countdown continues tomorrow with #2, so be sure to check back!]

As students become more concerned with leveraging their postsecondary education for entry into the job market, colleges and universities must look beyond traditional fields of study to ones that directly lead to future-ready careers.

Future-ready, or future-proof, careers refer to careers that not only have a significant number of current job openings, but whose openings are expected to increase in the future. These careers also offer competitive salaries, and are available in multiple markets (i.e. business, education, healthcare, etc.).

Using data from job-hunting site Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., as well as recent research from the education sector, eCampus News lists three burgeoning fields of study that any campus would do well to incorporate into their curricula.

1.Data Science/Data Administration

Data Science is an interdisciplinary field about processes and systems to extract knowledge or insights from data in various forms, either structured or unstructured, which is a continuation of some of the data analysis fields such as statistics, data mining, and predictive analytics, similar to Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD).

Data administration, or data resource management, is an organizational function working in the areas of information systems and computer science that plans, organizes, describes and controls data resources.

According to Glassdoor, data scientists are on-demand currently, and will continue to be needed for years to come. Currently, the average base salary of a data scientist is $105,395, with the number of current job openings exceeding 3,400. A database administrator’s average base salary is currently $97, 258, with the number of job openings over 9,000.

Yet, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) “Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Completions Survey and NSF/NCSES: Survey of Earned Doctorates,” while the number of undergrads in statistics—which encompasses data science—increased by more than 300 percent since the 1990s, the growth may not be enough to satisfy the high demand needed in the market.

The NCES report shows that bachelor’s degrees in statistics grew 17 percent from 2013 to 2014, marking 15 consecutive years the number of undergrads in statistics has risen. However, the American Statistical Association (ASA), which analyzed the NCES data, says that this number will need to increase drastically to satisfy the high demand for technology-based fields like data science and database management—which could spell trouble not only for businesses, but for colleges and universities anxious to effectively analyze massive amounts of big data.

Recently, MIT Sloan School of Management announced the launch of a new specialized Master of Business Analytics (M.B.An.) program designed to prepare students for careers in business analytics. And Stanford has been actively advocating for more data-related curricula throughout higher education.

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Applied Mathematics also developed a new statistics minor that includes several new classes in data science, plus several existing courses were revamped to better serve those career fields looking for data scientists.

The business sector has also launched programs to try and attract student to data fields of study.

(Next page: IT management and network administration fields of study)

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